Understanding the Visa Bulletin

The government has placed statutory limits on how many people can immigrate to the United States each year, so once you submit your application, you may have to wait until there is a visa available in the category you applied for. Each month, the Department of State (DOS) issues a visa bulletin, which indicates when visas are available based on your priority date and country of birth. Your priority date is the date that your petition was approved by USCIS. If a labor certification was required with your petition, the priority date is the date when the certification was accepted for processing by the Department of Labor.  What chart do I use? The visa bulletin contains two charts for each visa category with different dates: final action dates, and dates for filing applications. If filing via Adjustment of Status, USCIS will determine which chart controls in a given month. If filing via Immigrant Processing, the National Visa Center will reach out once you can begin these steps. In general, the green card cannot be issued until the final action date is current. Visit the USCIS website here to determine what chart you should use.  What do I do when my […]
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Featured Client of the Month: Joerg Kuehnelt

Berardi Immigration recently helped Joerg Kuehnelt obtain a green card. Before working with Berardi Immigration, Joerg had worked with an attorney who he felt lacked experience and did not fully understand the application process. Ultimately, he was denied the visa because he did not sufficiently qualify for that particular type of visa. He then turned to Berardi Immigration who represented his employer on immigration matters.  Berardi Immigration was able to secure Joerg an L-1 visa through his employer, and then he was able to apply for his green card. Joerg was “happy that Berardi took my concerns seriously and provided extra care to ensure I do sufficiently qualify for a U.S. visa before applying.” He was also impressed that “Berardi took the time to understand my job profile and feed that into the application to ensure it represents my duties correctly. In addition, they took extra care to explain the process and requirements to me so I did feel comfortable submitting my application.” Now that he is a green card holder, Joerg is looking forward to “being able to work a couple of hours on the side as a barista in a top-notch coffee shop. I had great coffees in […]
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Change in TB Test for Green Card Applicants

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released updated instructions regarding medical screening for tuberculosis (TB) for applicants for permanent residency. These new instructions replace the tuberculin skin test (TST) as the first TB screening method with a TB blood test, called an interferon-gamma release assay or IGRA. A TST test will no longer be able to be used as a substitute for IGRA testing.  Civil surgeons are responsible for conducting these tests and examinations for green card applicants. These physicians are authorized by USCIS to conduct the required medical examinations for applicants looking to register for permanent residence or adjust their status while in the United States.  Because TB can be difficult to detect, the CDC now mandates the IGRA test for green card applicants, as this test has been shown to be more dependable and accurate at detecting TB than previously favored skin tests. Given the recent nature of this change, applicants may want to confirm that their civil surgeon is familiar with the new requirements.  If you are interested in applying for a green card, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law to explore your options with an attorney today!
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USCIS Updates Medical Exam Procedures

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it would be updating the policy regarding the time period during which a Form I-693 submitted in support of a related immigration benefits application is considered valid. This update supersedes any previous guidance on this topic.  USCIS uses Form I-693 to determine whether or not a foreign national applying for an immigration benefit in the U.S. is inadmissible under health-related grounds. USCIS designates civil surgeons across the country who are responsible for conducting immigration medical examinations. Civil surgeons will then record the results of the examinations on Form I-693.  USCIS is updating the way the current validity period is calculated. This update aims to enhance operational efficiencies and reduce the need to request updated Form I-693 from applicants. This updated policy will take effect November 1, 2018. Once this policy is in effect, a Form I-693 will only be valid when a civil surgeon signs it no more than 60 days before the date an applicant files the application for the underlying immigration benefit and USCIS adjudicates the application within two years from the date of the civil surgeon’s signature.  If you are interested in immigrating to the United States, […]
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Featured Client of the Month: Reza Kamran

Berardi Immigration recently helped Reza Kamran obtain a Green Card in order to work for a company in the United States. Reza was thrilled to receive a job offer from a company in California but was unfamiliar with immigration firms and the process. Originally, Reza worked with the company’s internal corporate immigration lawyer. Unfortunately, this application was denied at the border, leaving Reza without work authorization. Fortunately, Berardi Immigration Law was able to step in and assist Reza with both damage control for his denial and suggest another preferable course of action. Based on Reza’s qualifications and individual circumstances, an employment-based Green Card was determined to be the best fit. This application submitted by Berardi was successful, and Reza and his family are currently in the United States. Reza is excited to continue living and working in the U.S.  Reza was impressed by his interactions with everyone at Berardi Immigration Law. The professionalism and knowledge of the entire team especially stood out. Reza was glad that “Berardi was fully prepared to not only speak on my behalf but ensured that the documentation case was air tight.” Furthermore, the team at Berardi “was always there to support and recommend the best […]
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Certain AOS Applications Can Be Filed Early in the Month of October 2018

USCIS has announced that for the month of October 2018, applicants for adjustment of status in both the family-based and employment-based categories may file their I-485 applications according to the Filing Date Charts. This means that you may file your I-485 application before your priority date is current, a huge benefit for many as this enables applicants and their dependents to obtain Employment Authorization and Advance Parole travel permits.  Here is an example of why this is an important opportunity: Your green card category is EB-1 for Persons of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers, or Executives/Managers of International Companies. Your priority date is January 1, 2018. In October 2018, the priority date for EB-1 Worldwide will be April 1, 2017, which means you are months away from having a current priority date. However, the Filing Date Chart for Worldwide EB-1’s in October 2018 is June 1, 2018. Because USCIS has allowed applicants to use the Filing Date Chart in October, you and your dependents will be able to apply for adjustment of status this month. In this instance, there is no need for your priority date to become current in order to file.  If you have questions on how […]
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USCIS Updates Form I-797 Receipt Notices for I-751 Applications

Beginning on June 11, 2018, petitioners filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, will receive an updated Form I-797 receipt notice. The Form I-797 receipt notice can be used as evidence of continued status for up to 18 months past the expiration date of a Permanent Resident Card, rather than the previous 12 months, when presented alongside the expired card.   USCIS has made this update from 12 to 18 months as a result of the increased processing times for Form I-751 and Form I-829 within the last year. In addition, USCIS will issue new Form I-797 receipt notices to eligible conditional permanent residents who had a Form I-751 or Form I-829 still pending as of June 11, 2018. These Form I-797 receipt notices may also be used as evidence of continued status for up to 18 months after the expiration date on a petitioner’s Permanent Resident Card.  USCIS also reminds conditional residents who plan on being outside the United States for a year or longer that they must apply for a re-entry permit by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, before leaving the […]
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